It’s been a big winter for punk rock, with major tours from many of the genre’s best up-and-coming bands, and Boston has been a must-have stop for them all. With a wide variety of venues to choose from, and a small but growing scene of its own, Boston has become a staple for West Coast punk tours. Most recently, Twin Peaks carried this hot streak into December, performing at The Sinclair alongside together PANGEA and Golden Daze.
Twin Peaks was formed in 2009 in Chicago, Illinois by Cadien Lake James and his high school buddies Jack Dolan, Clay Frankel, and Connor Brodner. Inspired by a mixture of 1960s and modern 2010s garage rock, such as James’ brother’s critically acclaimed band Smith Westerns, Twin Peaks recorded its debut album Sunken in 2012, quickly making a name for themselves with their colorfully melodic sound. Following the success of Sunken, everyone except Frankel decided to attend college, but they soon dropped out to pursue their musical careers, leading up to the release of their sophomore album Wild Onion in 2014.
In May of this 2016, the band released its third and most recent album, Down In Heaven, recorded at a friend’s cabin in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. While still embracing the sloppy garage rock sound of their first two albums, Down In Heaven has a much slower and more personable feel, with a touch of country-groove and blues, and shows incredible growth both lyrically and instrumentally. Another major factor in the development of this new sound can be credited to Colin Croom, who officially joined as keyboard player in 2015 after being involved with the band as far back as 2014. The musical maturity in Down In Heaven proved that Twin Peaks could stand out and rise to the top, a path that the band quickly ascended, going from opening for The Orwells at small venues like Boston’s Great Scott in 2012, to playing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien just four years later. But despite their recent success, Twin Peaks remains humble and true to their roots, continuing to play every show with exceptional passion, and their performance at The Sinclair was no exception.
With doors at 8:00pm, a line of fans decked out in concert tees from the Underplay Tour and the Too Much Tour began to form by 7:00pm. Just a block away, several of the night’s performers could be seen leaning against a tour van, smoking cigarettes and checking out the crowd before retreating back to the welcoming warmth of the venue. After an hour of shivering in the cold the doors finally opened, and the line of die-hard fans were rewarded for their frosty wait with spots right in front of the stage.
Golden Daze went on at 8:45pm, warming up the crowd with a selection of psychedelic feel-good song from debut self-titled album including “Flowers,” “Salt,” and “Ghost” before wrapping up around 9:15pm.
Just past 9:30pm, together PANGEA began to play, immediately bringing room to life as they barreled into their set with “I Looked Into,” off of their most recent release, last year’s The Phage EP. Throughout the night, vocalist William Keegan commanded the crowd with a calm and relaxed demeanor, in contrast to the bouncing theatrics of bassist Danny Bengston and the pounding presence of drummer Erik Jimenez. Though leaning heavily on material from their 2013 album Badillac, such as “Does He Really Care” and “Offer,” together PANGEA also mixed in songs from their earlier work like “Night of the Living Dummy,” seamlessly paired with a snippet from The Cranberries’ “Zombie.” Other highlights from their performance included garage rock shredder “Too Drunk to Cum,” speedy pop-punk hit “River,” and the ripping solo-filled “Snakedog” to end the set.
When together PANGEA finished, Twin Peaks wasted no time getting on stage. James flipped open his guitar case, decorated with big colorful letters bearing his nickname “[Big] Tuna,” and Brodner began testing his drum kit, kicking at his bass drum painted colorfully in red, yellow, and blue. Mixed in between piles of amps, coils of cables, and a handful of empty beer cans was an old tube television, tuned into a channel of solid static with the band’s initials “TP” spray painted over the glass in orange–––perfectly capturing the band’s aesthetic. Around 10:15pm, the band finished setting up and cleared the stage, filling the room with suspense.
Twin Peaks went on stage around 10:30pm, kicking their set off with Frankel’s firecracker single “Butterfly” from Down in Heaven to set the tone for the night. From there, the band jumped back to some of their earlier hits, blasting through “Stand in the Sand” and “Boomers,” passing the microphone from Frankel to James to Dolan in a seamless blend of bouncing vocals. But regardless of who was singing, the audience was equally ecstatic, persistently pumping their fists and storming the stage with an endless wave of crowd surfers. And the band was just as passionate as the fans, especially Frankel, who danced like a madman and rolled around on the floor of the stage, spitting PBR and throwing his sudsy can into the crowd. Over the course of an hour, Twin Peaks busted out all their big hits like “Walk To The One You Love,” “Flavor,” and “Making Breakfast,” but they also pulled from some of their less known songs like “Natural Villain.”
At the 11:15pm mark, the band wrapped things up and walked off stage, only to return for a three song encore a few minutes later, receiving an uproarious approval from the crowd. The final song of the set was “Strawberry Smoothie,” an action-packed two and a half minute track that perfectly encaptures the band’s sound and spirit, from the sludgy guitar riffs and harmonized “woo woos,” to the high energy rhythms and fun-loving lyrics, making it a fitting end to an impeccable performance. So when the final chord had been struck and faded away, the crowd cheered with delight, knowing that this would not be the last time Twin Peaks came to town.